Eye For Film >> Movies >> Love Live Long (2008) Film Review
Love Live Long
Reviewed by: Darren Amner
Mike Figgis is a director who loves to explore and advance the art of film-making, his films are intelligent, creative pieces made with an independent sensibility. He's made Hollywood films with big budgets and massive stars but what interests him the most of late are stories that evolve with their audience.
Love Live Long is a semi-improvised drama set against the backdrop of the 2007 Gumball Rally. For those not familiar with Gumball, the event is described as 'the most rock and roll car rally ever staged', due to its notoriety and celebrity participation. Figgis was invited by organisers to make a film about the event but he chose instead to devise a love story set against the rally. Love Live Long takes its audience into a movie inside a movie and this raw, intimate approach to film-making is daring.
Rachel (Sophie Winkleman), a woman who videotapes herself on suicide watch, and Darren (Daniel Lapaine), a rally driver, cross paths in Istanbul. Darren is away from home, stuck in a hotel apart from his family and tired of the partying that comes with the rally circuit. While wandering around a spice market he spots the beautiful Rachel, and invites her to a party at his hotel that evening.
Darren knows nothing of her other than that she's worth a quickie, but Rachel's psychological problems may end up haunting him as much as her.
Love Live Long is about desire, longing and loneliness and is bold cinematic storytelling; the director shoots the film in a hand-held, documentary style, but it doesn't feel like a low-budget movie. Figgis plays with colour, angles, split screens, and frames his film as artfully as possible. Stylistically, his approach is intense, the extreme close-ups during the more dramatic moments ensuring the audience feels as awkward as the characters.
The pace is a little slow and, naturally, as there was no fixed script, character development and back-story are slightly lacking, but you remain interested. At times the story is quite raw and unsettling but this freshness is a big part of the production's appeal.
Rachel is damaged goods, unlikeable, and Winkleman excels in the scenes in which she thanks Darren for making her feel something again. As Darren, Lapaine is charming and funny, his character a nice balance to Rachel's and Lapaine is incredibly magnetic in some sequences. The scenes featuring both characters are simply riveting.
This is film-making at its finest, where limitations don't halt or stifle creativity and it's envelope-pushers like Figgis who ensure cinema stays fresh and alive. Love Live Long only confirms that Figgis is a film-maker who loves to exploit creative capabilities while subverting our expectations as an audience.Reviewed on: 18 Oct 2008